WCASD Board Fails to Address Learning Loss
Did you know that in response to failing grades, increased absenteeism, and students underperforming, WCASD lowered the bar on passing grades, rather than addressing the core issues that caused the failing grades?
Back in January 2021--halfway through the school year, when secondary schools were still hybrid--the Education Committee (comprised of school board members Tiernan, Chester, Durnell, Shaw, Herrmann) met to discuss "Effectiveness Measures at the Secondary Level".
The WCASD report classified students as "district, cyber, minority or identified" and looked at metrics for each group. (Metrics were identified as the percentages of each student group enrolled in AP, accelerated courses, and honors courses; the percentage of students earning honor roll, those with cumulative absences, and those failing 2 or more subjects. Check out the report, it's eye opening):
5.5% of district students were enrolled in Dual Enrollment courses, while only 1.5% of minority students* were enrolled.
Almost 11% of minority students had 16+ cumulative absences, compared to 2.5% of non-minority students.
And a whopping 26% of 9th graders who are identified as minority failed 2 or more classes, as compared with nearly 9% of non-minority students.
*WCASD uses the term minority in the report but does not indicate who is classified as a minority.
These numbers are concerning and are a dramatic increase over the historical data. These numbers clearly show that remote school was NOT working.
Yet our school board avoided any attempts to identify the root cause, nor did they discuss a way to reopen schools as a way to address these issues.
What DID the Education Committee decide to do?
Improve grade on assignment (It's unclear what that means but it sounds like grade inflation? Perhaps it means giving students a higher grade than deserved?)
Offer re-test opportunities
Reduce or eliminate late penalty points
Change the definition of failure. A failing grade in the WCASD used to be 65%. The board LOWERED the threshold to 45%. (This means that prior to 2021, a grade of 65 or below was an F. But too many kids were failing. Rather than address WHY that was happening, the board decided to change an F to be defined as a grade of 45 or below.)
Instead of addressing the root cause of failure, absenteeism, and under-performing students, the board decided to change the definition of failure.
This begs the question: is WCASD living up to their mission "to educate and inspire our students to achieve their personal best"?